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/// AR Confidential We heard it through the grapevine!
GROWTH DROPS OFF FOR ONLINE SERVICES
In the past six months, more than 328,000 customers have signed up
for on-line computer services, bringing the number of homes reached by
major on-line services to 3.9 million, according to a survey by
Information & Interactive Services Report, a trade newsletter based in
Washington. But the 9.9 percent growth since March puts the current rate
considerably below previous annual industry increases, said Gary Arlen, an
editor of the newsletter.
"This suggests that consumer appetite ... may be sated, and that the
next market phase may include increased efforts by providers to lure
customers away from one another," Arlen said.
Vienna-based America Online Inc. grew most quickly, adding 130,000
users for a total of 350,000, a 59 percent jump. CompuServe Inc., the
largest on-line service with 1.4 million users, added 190,000, a jump of
16 percent. Prodigy, which has 950,000 users, lost 5 percent of its
customers while Rockville-based GEnie remained at 400,000.
FIRED EXECUTIVE SUES APPLE
Albert A. Eisenstat, 63, Apple Computer Inc.'s executive vice
president and secretary, was fired last week. He promptly responded by
suing Apple and chief executive Michael Spindler, alleging breach of
contract, wrongful termination and age discrimination.
Eisenstat's suit claims he was forced out because he opposed
Spindler's reorganization plans and the repricing of stock options for
employees, according to the Associated Press. Spindler replaced Apple
chairman John Sculley as chief executive in June.
In announcing Eisenstat's departure on Friday, Apple said the suit
had no merit. "Al seemed to feel he ought to be employed at Apple
indefinitely. Michael felt otherwise and asked him to leave the company
immediately," Apple spokeswoman Kate Paisley told Bloomberg Business News.
Analysts said the termination suggests continuing turmoil at a company
that has been hit by massive losses and the resignation of other key
executives in recent months.
The hoopla about video-conferencing may just turn out to be hype,
according to a study by Dataquest Inc. About 64 percent of the people
responding to a survey by the San Jose market research company said they
will have little demand for additional videoconferencing equipment next
year. "There is great hope among many technology companies that video-
conferencing will be the `killer application' that will accelerate the
trend toward multimedia. The results of our survey certainly don't support
those hopes," said Dataquest analyst Bruce Ryon.
The survey found that while big Fortune 500 companies need large
room-type videoconference systems, the majority of businesses find that
facsimile, electronic mail and other low-cost communications technologies
are adequate. In addition, most businesses said that the benefits of
having video on desktop computers are not significant enough to justify
the costs of videoconferencing equipment.
Copyright 1993 The Washington Post